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of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, the reservation is of one million acres; and I would say in regard to this section that if the bill which has just been reported from the Senate, and which has now gone to a conference committee, should become a lawI refer to the homestead law which passed this House some time ago-this section will become of no value, and will be stricken from the bill. That time will have arrived before, in the reg ular order of things, this bill shall have passed both branches of Congress. If that bill does not become a law, for reasons which I will attempt to show it is essential that this section should be retained. If it does become a law, the provisions of that law will enable the Department to provide for the freedmen without the aid of the fifth section of this bill.
The last section simply provides that the officers and employés of the bureau before entering upon the discharge of their duties shall take the oath prescribed by the first section of the act to which this is an amendment. [Some excitement was here manifested among members.] I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the interruption caused by the late news from Connec ticut will not be taken out of my time.
The sixth section, as it is now reported, refers to the Sherman lands, and is substantially altered from the provision of the previous law. It now provides that when the former owners of those lands, which are now allotted to the freedmen, and which have been occu pied, as it is known, by them under licenses from the Government, shall apply for a restoration, the Commissioner shall procure other lands, provided he can obtain them at an average price not exceeding twenty-five dollars per acre; that he shall assign them, in lots of forty acres, to the occupants of lands under General Sherman's order, requiring them to pay a fair rental for the lands and permit them || to purchase, provided they will pay to the Government the full cost which the Government has incurred for the lands. The provision is that no sale shall be made of the lands purchased at a price less than the cost to the United States.
The seventh section very materially changes the former law which authorized the purchase of sites, and the erection of buildings for schools, and the carrying on of those schools; and it was made a subject of comment that the United States ought not to educate. It will be seen upon an examination of this section that all that it is proposed to do here is to procure buildings for the schools. The Commissioner is authorized to cooperate with private beneyolent associations of citizens, and to provide || proper sites and buildings, for purposes of education, whenever such associations shall, without cost to the Government, provide suitable teachers and means of instruction, and he shall furnish such protection as may be required for the conduct of such schools, and the property shall remain the property of the United States until sales are authorized by law. It will be seen that the object of this section is to provide school-houses and protect those school-houses, while the schools themselves are conducted by associations of benevolent individuals from the North and West, or from any part of the country where associations are formed for purposes of education. I can hardly imagine that any gentleman can object to a provision of that kind. It is perfectly plain that education cannot be secured to these freedmen unless the Government, for the present, shall protect the buildings in which the schools are conducted. It is needless that I should occupy time in efforts to prove that proposition.
The eighth section simply embodies the provisions of the civil rights bill, and gives to the President authority, through the Secretary of War, to extend military protection to secure those rights until the civil courts are in operation. When the civil courts shall again be in operation the whole jurisdiction hereby conferred ceases. Before that time there is no jurisdiction anywhere except in the military. Until that time there can be no redress of grievances and no administration of the rights which under the law are now possessed by the freedmen but by military aid. But as soon as the civil courts are reorganized and reëstablished, then this bill provides that the jurisdiction conferred upon the officers of the bureau shall no longer exist. In other words, it is carrying out what has been done since the organization of the bureau in March, 1865.
Several MEMBERS. What is the news? Mr. ELIOT. I understand the news is that Mr. Ferry has been elected by both Houses of the Connecticut Legislature a Senator of the United States. [Applause, promptly checked by the Speaker.]
Mr. LE BLOND. I move that business be suspended to allow members an opportunity to shout. [Laughter.]
The SPEAKER. How long a time does the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. LE BLOND] desire? Mr. LE BLOND. Well, say five minutes. Mr. ELIOT. We can defer that for the present. It will do just as well at another time. I prefer to proceed with my remarks
Mr. Speaker, wherever we turn in our legislative path we encounter questions of freedmen and freedmen's rights; they face us everywhere. No peace can come that will "stay" until the Government which decreed freedom shall vindicate and enforce its rights by appropriate legislation. Absent States may return to their allegiance pursuant to laws which you enact, but no true welcome will be found until some sufficient measure of justice shall be meted out to the men whom "military necessity" converted from slaves to citizens. No man, forever hereafter, can live upon our continent and be a slave. That much by the sword and by the law has been decreed. During all our national life, before the slaveholder's rebellion began, from time to time, by leading political parties in the free States it was passionately urged that somehow or other slavery must be abolished. But their action was not persistent and could never have been effective, because at one and the same point both parties stopped, and that point was short of freedom; for it was believed that Congress could not, under the Constitution, act concerning slavery within the States, and so this crime, which most of the fathers who framed our organic law detested, was, by contemporaneous construction of that law, placed beyond the reach of national legislation.
The power to adjust what were termed "domestic relations," which were held to include the relation between the white master who owned and the man of African descent who was the subject of bondage, was not regarded as included in the powers delegated to the United States or prohibited by the Constitution to the States, and therefore fell among the reserved powers of the States. Whether this was right or wrong, it was the accepted law, which only secession ordinances and flagrant war enabled us successfully to overrule, and now by military proclamation, compelled by necessity, but resting upon principles of eternal justice, and by State emancipation, and finally by constitutional amendment, universal freedom has been ordained. The knot which politicians could not untie during eighty years of peace the sword of Mr. Lincoln cut at one blow. The power to liberate, which is now confessed, involved the duty to protect, and the Freedmen's Bureau was its earliest legal recog. nition. I claim for Congress full power to protect, by fit legislation, the freedom which was thus for the avowed good of the Government conferred by the Commander-in-Chief and confirmed by subsequent law. "I do this as an act of military necessity," Mr. Lincoln said. But when he had done that act, which was rightfully done, according to the laws of war then operating in full force, the duty and the power of Congress were at once disclosed. Upon that power, thus derived, the right and the duty of Congress to establish the Freedmen's Bureau will be found to rest securely.
Since the establishment of this bureau an
other source of power has been given to us by the people of the States acting through their Legislatures. The great amendment declares
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
And by its second section confers upon Congress, by direct grant, "power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." By this act alone freedom in every State was by the people suddenly conferred upon four million bondmen. Whether military power had effectually wrought its work or not that amendment was effectual. States that had emancipated might reënslave. But that amendment instantly, when ratified, worked perpetual freedom. States which had not formally united their fortunes with the rebel government became at once subject to the power of that amendment, and in a moment the bondmen within their borders were made free.
By necessary implication, if the second section had not conferred it, we should, I trust, have found and asserted the power to protect the freedmen. But there is the grant of power. And whatever legislation Congress-the sole and exclusive judge in the first instance, subject ultimately to the judgment of the highest judicial tribunal of the Union-shall deem to be appropriate to make fairly effective the great grant of freedom is thus authorized and enjoined. A race of men enslaved by force and kept in bondage for generations, not recognized as clothed with manhood; held, clothed, fed for service; denied education, knowing no relation of husband, wife, or parent, but only of master and slave, after two centuries of oppression is declared free-free at one moment, free where they happen to be, upon the plantation, within the homes of their former masters, and under the angry eye of owners who see their "property" transformed into "men," and made citizens by law. Now, what legislation do you deem appropriate to enforce that act of freedom? Manifestly some is needed; for if the startling facts that come to us from the recent rebel States, of fiendish oppression and brutal outrage, were wholly undisclosed, we yet should know that masters who had rioted in the lusts of slavery would not let their bondmen go in peace; or if they did, we still should know that a race prostrate for generations beneath the heel of tyrannous power could not have their freedom made effectual without our legislative aid.
And yet since that great amendment became a living law we have done nothing, literally nothing, to protect them. The Freedmen's Bureau was a necessity created by military law. It was a law before the amendment was ratified by three fourths of the loyal States. Now, another condition of facts exists, and every day lost by our inaction adds to the great weight we bear of duty undischarged. I remember that we have sent to the President one bill. It had been passed, as I know we all believed, with his substantial approval, not of all its provisions, perhaps, but of its scope and general character. But we were in error. Let us try again. I do not know that any utterance of mine within these Halls can reach the presence of that high officer whom I labored to lift up from among his fellows, while men who now attempt to win him from those who were his friends, by fulsome praise, were heaping abuse upon him mountain-high, and that not in loyal States alone, but in rebel communities, and among traitors red-handed with the blood of our slain sons, and armed to take the nation's life. But, sir, if I could be heard I would, in behalf of these freedmen, invoke his aid. Our action, without his cooperation must be partial and of imperfect effect. Among the thirteen powers conferred by the Constitution upon the President the "veto power" was given as a needful guard to the people's rights when laws ill-advised or rash or contravening the Constitution are enacted. Such power is itself controlled by a
States must be immediately removed from Kentucky to prevent irritation, &c., If all the States were to so solemnly protest against the presence of United States troops within their borders, and the country should think best to gratify the clamor for immediate and entire removal that we hear from so many States, the Government would necessarily be compelled to rent a parcel of ground in Canada on which to erect barracks for the accommodation of its withdrawn troops. "I assure you that in no portion of the country is this bureau more a positive necessity than in many counties of Kentucky; and for the sake of the nation's plighted faith to her wards, the freedmen, and in behalf of humanity and justice, I implore you and the President to listen to no request for its withdrawal from the State until the civil authorities, in the enforcement of impartial laws, shall amply protect the persons and property of those for whose protection and defense this bureau is set.
two-thirds vote of Congress. But this bill, thus passed, might be an imperfect weapon in the hands of officers even of willing loyalty, because every official arm, if it would strike effective blows in this direction, must be upheld by the moral power of the Executive. I would therefore invoke his aid in behalf of these millions of men who look up to him as the controller of their destiny. He knows how they are oppressed. Senators who claim to be loyal may deny the facts established by the mouth of many witnesses. But the President knows the truth. He knows the "slaveholder." He has felt the contempt and contumely and scorn with which the mean aristocrat knows how to crush all whom the Constitution designates as "other persons," and since the war for slavery began has had his home made desolate and has held life in hand while traitors jubilant with assured success have wreaked vengeance upon loyal men who owned no slaves.
Yes, sir, he knows these men. Unclothed of office, he could not now live in his own old home in Tennessee with the military arm of Government withdrawn. Those men stand before him now with simulated respect. There is no human toady upon earth that crouches so meanly to the man above him as the tyrant who arrogantly puts his foot upon the man beneath him. The President has verified that fact in ethics. They solicit and obtain pardon with bated voice, but no repentance has brought forgiveness; and if the concurring testimony of loyal men can substantiate, any fact, and put it beyond fair denial, it is proved to us that in every State where the traitor flag supplanted the banners of the Republic, and in Kentucky none the less, the hatred which disloyal men have felt toward their Government is finding expression this day upon the head of the unprotected freedman.
Mr. Speaker, I propose right here to prove that statement. General Fisk, in his report to the Commissioner of the Bureau, dated January 6, 1866, says:
"There are some of the meanest unsubjugated and unreconstructed, rascally rebellious revolutionists in Kentucky that curse the soil of the country. They now claim that although the amendment to the Constitution forever abolishing and prohibiting slavery has been ratified, and proclamation thereof duly made, yet Congress must legislate to carry the amendment into effect, and therefore slavery is not dead in Kentucky. Others cling to the old barbarism with tenacity, claiming that the Government must pay Kentucky for her emancipated slaves. There are few public journals in the State which afford great comfort to the malcontents, but the majority of the people of Kentucky hail the dawn of universal liberty, and welcome the agency of the bureau in adjusting the new relations arising from the total abolition of slavery. I have succeeded in obtaining the services of many first-class, judicious, popular citizens to act as superintendents at the important points. The Blue Grass' region is in the best of hands. General Hay, at Hopkinsville, was a bad failure. He has been removed. I have consulted General Palmer in the appointment of every agent. I return to Kentucky on the 10th instant, by invitation of the Governor, and shall meet the principal planters of the State at Frankfort, in convention, on the 11th. I hope to do good unto them, and make the bureau a blessing to all Kentucky."
On the 23d of January, after the convention had been held, he writes:
"On the part of many of the politicians in Kentucky there is a bitter opposition to the bureau. Governor Bramlette is most cordial in his expressed approval of my official action, and, I think, carnest in his desire that the Assembly so legislate as to give the freedmen impartial justice. A majority of the legislators officially denounce the bureau, and pronounce its presence in Kentucky a usurpation of power, and the act of Congress by which it was estabfished unconstitutional. Just now there is at Frankfort a heated canvass for a United States Senatorship in progress. Candidates for the position vie with each other in denouncing the Freedmen's Bureau. Men who have fought gallantly for the honor of their country's flag are willing to purchase promotion to the United States Senate at the expense of justice to thirty thousand of their fellow-citizens and fellowsoldiers too. The Legislature makes no progress in the enactment of laws applicable to the new condition of things, but lengthy resolutions denunciatory of the bureau, and requesting the President to immediately withdraw the odious institution from the State, are discussed in protracted debate, and voted upon affirmatively with astonishing unanimity, Neither myself nor any of my subordinates are accused of much wrong-doing. We are even complimented as being just and conservative gentlemen; but the Freedmen's Bureau and every soldier of the United
"I saw with my own eyes our fellow-soldiers, yet clad in the uniform of their country's Army, fresh from their muster out of service, who within the last ten days were the victims of fiendish atrocity from the hands of their former masters in Kentucky. These returned soldiers had been to their old homes for their wives and children, and had for this offense been knocked down, whipped, and horribly bruised, and threatened with shooting, should they ever dare to set their feet on the premises of the old master again and intimate that their families were free."
On the 14th of February General Fisk writes to the Commissioner of the Bureau as follows:
"GENERAL: Kentucky.—I regret that I am unable to report the bureau affairs progressing as smoothly in Kentucky as in Tennessee.
"The freedmen of the State are very generally disposed to enter into labor contracts for wages or a share of the crop, and most of them prefer remaining in their own State to emigration elsewhere. On the part of a large majority of the whites I believe there is an honest desire to adjust on a fair basis the new relations arising from the abolition of slavery, but the bureau is not a popular institution with them. They regard its presence among them as unauthorized--denounce its officials as usurpers and despots, and clamor for its immediate removal from the State.
ratification of the constitutional amendment forever In obedience to orders, immediately upon the abolishing and prohibiting slavery, I extended over
the more than two hundred thousand freedmen of Kentucky the supervision of this bureau, and appointed agents in a few counties only. Superintendents were selected from the citizens, and appointed upon the recommendations of the best men I could
consult. The Kentucky Legislature has, by numerous upon to remove the bureau frem the State; propositions to forever disqualify any citizen from holding an office in the State who might act as an agent of this bureau, were introduced and discussed. The official State paper (Louisville Democrat) has declared that, by the ratification of the constitutional amendment, the slavery question has become more unsettled than ever, and many of its readers, believing its doctrines, practice accordingly, and still hold freedmen as slaves. These influences in opposition to freedom have rendered it difficult to conduct the bureau affairs in Kentucky with that harmony and efficiency which have elsewhere produced good results.
More than twenty-five thousand colored men of Kentucky have been soldiers in the Army of the Union. Many of them were enlisted against the wishes of their masters, and now, after having faithfully served their country, and been honorably mustered out of the service, and return to their old homes, they are not met with joyous welcome and grateful words for their devotion to the Union, but in many instances are scourged, beaten, shot at, and driven from their homes and families. Their arms are taken from them by the civil authorities and confiscated for the benefit of the Commonwealth. The Union soldier is fined for bearing arms. Thus the right of the people to keep and bear arms as provided in the Constitution is infringed, and the Government for whose protection and preservation these soldiers have fought is denounced as meddlesome and despotic when through its agents it undertakes to protect its citizens in a constitutional right. Kentuckians who followed the fortunes of John Morgan, and did all in their power to destroy the nation, go loaded down with pistols and knives, and are selected as candidates for high positions of honor and trust in the State. The loyal soldier is arrested and punished for bringing into the State the arms he has borne in battle for his country.
That you may have a bird's-eye view of the protection afforded the freedmen of Kentucky by the civil law and authorities, I have the honor to invite your attention to the following extracts from cominunications received from our correspondents in that State.
"C. P. Oyler, of Covington, writes as follows:
Jordan Finney and family (freedmen) lived in Walton, Kentucky; they owned a comfortable home. Two of the daughters were wives of colored soldiers, and lived with him. Returned rebel soldiers hereinafter named combined to drive this family from the State. They attacked the house three times, abused the women and children, destroyed all their clothing, bedding, and furniture to the value of $500, and finally drove them from their homes. The names of the perpetrators, so far as known, are Allen Arnold, John Arnold, Franklin Yowell, Woodford Fry, L. Snow, and Robert Edwards; all live in Walton, Kentucky. An attempt was made to bring these parties to justice, but it failed, as colored testimony could not be received. This same man Finney has a daughter held as a slave by Mr. Widen Sheet, of Boone county, whom he values at $1,000. Sixteen armed men resisted Mr. Finney and an expressman when they went
for the girl, and beat them cruelly with clubs and stones.'
An old colored man named Baxter was shot and killed by James Roberts for refusing to let Roberts in his house. The civil authorities will neither arrest nor punish said Roberts, as there is no testimony except of colored persons. (Reported by Thomas Rice, Richmond, Kentucky.)
Lindsley Taylor, of Richmond, stabbed a negro on the 30th of January, for no cause save that the negro did not wish Lindsley to search his house. The civil authorities tried Taylor and acquitted him. (Reported by Thomas Rice, superintendent.)
"L.L. Pinkerton, superintendent of Fayette county, at Lexington, reports that, in his and the opinion of all whom he has consulted, the freedmen cannot receive their just rights without a considerable military force.'
"C. P. Oyler, Covington, writes: The civil officers, after the late action of the Kentucky Legislature in regard to the Freedmen's Bureau, refused to cooperate with me, and manifest a disposition to drive the bureau out of the State. It will be impossible to secure to freedmen their just rights without the aid of a military force. Colored people are driven from their homes and their houses burned.'
"William Goodloe writes: The counties of Boyle, Lincoln, and Mercer are infested with guerrilla bands. Outrages are mostly committed upon colored persons. The evidence of colored persons is not taken in court I am powerless to accomplish anything without soldiers.'
"Peter Branford, a returned colored soldier, in Mercer county, was shot by James Poore, a white man, without cause or provocation.
"Judge Samuel A. Spencer, of Green county, writes: A great many colored men are beaten, their lives threatened, and they refused the privilege of returning home because they have been in the Army. I cannot accept the agency on account of the action of the Kentucky Legislature.'
E. P. Ashcraft, of Meade county, writes: Richard, William, Jesse, and John Shacklett and Martin Taylor, returned rebel soldiers, have on different occasions attacked negroes with fire-arms, and say they intend no d-d niggers shall live on this side the Ohio.' The civil authorities are powerless."
"R. W. Thing, of Warren county, writes: 'An old negro was killed by gun-shot while attempting to run from a white boy eighteen years of age, to escape a whipping.'
"A freedman was attacked in his cabin and shot. He and his wife ran to the woods, with bullets flying thick, and fast around them from five or six revolvers, the woman escaping with her life by tearing off her chemise while running, thereby presenting a darker. colored mark.'
A woman was stabbed by a white woman in the neck, the knife penetrating the windpipe, for giving water to a Union soldier in a tumbler.'
"A woman and her son were horribly cut and mangled with the lash and then hung by the neck until so nearly dead that water had to be thrown in their faces to revive them to make them acknowledge that they had set a house on fire.'
A woman received a severe cut in the head from a club in the hands of a man, who drove her from herhome because her husband had joined the Army.' "There are several cases of robbery of colored persons by returned rebels in uniform, in Russellville, Kentucky. The town marshal takes all arms from returned colored soldiers, and is very prompt in shooting the blacks whenever an opportunity occurs.'
I have a case in hand to-day where a white man knocked down an old man eighty years of age because he asked for and urged the necessity of his pay for cutting eight cords of wood.'
"There has been a large number of cases of women and children being driven from home on account of their husbands enlisting.'
"It is dangerous for colored people to go into Logan, Todd, Barren, and the north part of Warren counties after their children.'
'A freedman's wife left her former master and came to live with him, (her husband.) She was followed and shot at.'
A furloughed soldier of the twelfth United States colored artillery was murdered at Auburn, Kentucky, while sitting on his bed. The civil authorities do nothing in the case.'
An old freedman in Allen county, Kentucky, was shot and killed because he would not allow himself to be whipped by a young man.'
Major Lawrence, of the seventeenth Kentucky cavalry, reports that a negro was shot in one of the streets of Russellville last night. No cause whatever for it. Several negroes came to me to know what they should do, saying they had been robbed by a party of men wearing the confederate States uniform. The judges and justices of the peace in almost every instance are rebels of very strong prejudices, who will not even take notice of the most hideous outrages, and if a case is turned over to them they will not administer justice. The action of the courts in southern Kentucky indicates that the day is far distant when a negro can secure justice at the hands of the civil law.'
In Grant county a band of outlaws, styling themselves moderators," made an attack upon the colored citizens for the purpose of driving them from the State. They went late in the night to their homes, took them from their beds, stripped and whipped them until they were unable to walk.'
"Colonel William P. Thomasson, of Louisville. Kentucky, writes that 'outrages and wrongs upon freedmen are numerous, especially upon returned colored soldiers. A few nights since a colored soldier just mustered out, with his money in his pocket and a new suit of clothes on his back, was waiting for the cars at Deposit station, a few miles from Louisville; four or five young rowdies of the place set upon him to
rob him. He was a light-colored man, and one of the robbers said to his fellows, "He is a white man; let him alone." A dispute arose as to his color, and he was taken into a grocery, a lamp was lit, and the question of his color settled. He was then robbed of his money, arms, and clothing, was stripped to his shirt, and told to run. He did run, and was shot at while escaping, and the shot took effect in his hand.'
"I am in daily receipt of similar reports from our superintendents, judges, sheriffs, and military officers. Some of the writers dare not be known as giving this information, fearing assassination as the consequence. "For narrating at a freedmen's commission anniversary meeting in Cincinnati, on the 18th ultimo, what I had myself seen of brutalities in the 'Blue Grass,' I have been denounced in the Kentucky Legislature as a liar and slanderer. A committee has been appointed to investigate the matter. I have furnished them the names of witnesses, and requested that their powers be enlarged, and they authorized to investigate the condition of the freedmen throughout the State; but I have good reason for believing that the committee will simply make a report that General Fisk is a great liar, and should be removed from office, &c. It is well to remember that a more select number of vindictive, pro-slavery, rebellious legislators cannot be found than the majority of the Kentucky Legislature. The President of the United States was denounced in the Senate as a worse traitor than Jefferson Davis, and that, too, before the bureau tempest had reached them.
I give it as my deliberate opinion that if the military was withdrawn from the State not a school for colored children would be allowed within its borders, and I doubt if an unspoken Union man would be allowed to remain. In this sparsely settled and isolated country the process of reconstruction' will necessarily be slow, and I am sorry to add that the influence and example of some of the men who have received special pardon was much better before their pardon than since, yet there is a perceptible improvement in the temper and sentiment of the people at large."
"The entire opposition is political, a warfare waged against loyalty, freedom, and justice.
I have endeavored to administer the affairs of the bureau in Kentucky precisely as in Tennessee; have studied to be conciliatory in every particular, and not to interfere in the least with the civil affairs of the State, except my duties and orders imperatively demanded it. As yet, the Legislature have enacted no laws securing impartial liberty and right, and I very much fear they will not at this session. The late letter of Major General Palmer, on Kentucky affairs, is truthful and candid. I wish her good people would heed his counsel and her lawmakers follow his wise suggestions.
"There are many old, infirm, and sick, and orphans in Kentucky who have been thrown upon the Government for support. Rations were issued to this class in December at a cost of $4,993 56, eightfold the cost of sustaining the same class of persons in Tennessee the same month. In the latter State the people have much more generously treated the unfortunate freedmen, especially the families of fallen soldiers, than have the Kentuckians; hence the cause of the increased expense to the Government of providing for the destitute freedmen. Every effort is being made to secure homes for the widows and orphans in other States. A large number have been kindly received and provided for in Ohio and Indiana. The Western Freedmen's Aid Commission have rendered me valuable service in locating this class in comfortable permanent homes.
"In making this extended report of Kentucky affairs I wish nothing to extenuate or aught set down in malice.' It is best that you understand the case fully. I rejoice that there are so many persons in the State who treat the freedmen justly and generously. Outlaws in different sections of the State, encouraged by the pro-slavery press, which daily denounces the Government and its officials, make brutal attacks and raids upon the freedmen, who are defenseless, for the civil-law officers disarm the colored man and hand him over to armed marauders. In neither Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, nor Arkansas, where I have had an opportunity of observation, does there such a fiendish spirit prevail as in some portions of Kentucky. I trust that ere long the better portion of the people will rise in their indignation and demand that justice be done to all the citizens of the State.
"It has fallen to my lot to officially stand by the death-bed of slavery in the United States. Kentucky's throes are but the expiring agonies of the great barbarism.
"I trust the Government will insist upon strict justice for every man, woman, and child who through the Red sea of civil strife has marched from slavery to freedom.
"I will try to do my whole duty, regardless of denunciations, jeers, and threats of assassination. I will give cheerful heed to your admonitions and counsels.
"While I remain in this position I desire the power to protect the poor, the weak, and the ignorant, who confidently look to this bureau for the protection which the State, made rich by their unrequited toil, yet fails to afford them."
Brigadier General Sprague, assistant commissioner for Arkansas, on the 10th of January, 1866, writes to the Commissioner:
"I see by the act of Congress organizing the bureau that its existence is limited to one year after the war. If it should not be extended, there is no hope for the freedmen of Arkansas, Texas, and that portion of the South remote from railroads and telegraphs. They will be starved, murdered, or forced into a condition more horrible than the worst stages of slavery. Our people's wrath over defeat would be poured upon the heads of the helpless ones once their slaves. I say this sorrowfully of our people, yet I know it is but too true-their prejudices give way slowly. By extending the existence of the bureau, what education and thought failed to do might be supplied by an influx of liberal-minded people.
This is the language of a citizen whose intelligence and opportunities for judging entitle his statements to consideration. His statements are corroborated by all the testimony that reaches me from other parts of the State, and what is said of the southwestern portion is in the main true of the whole State.
Inspector General William E. Strong, in his report of action and observation in Texas,
"In the interior of the State, one or two hundred miles from the prominent cities, away from the influence of Federal troops and Federal bayonets, at points where our Army has never penetrated, and where the citizens have but little fear of arrest and punishment for crimes committed, I assure you there is a fearful state of things. The freedmen are in a worse condition than they ever were as slaves. When they were held in bondage they were, as a rule, treated well; cases of extreme cruelty were very rare; it was for the interest of the master to take care of them, and not to ill-treat them. Now it is quite different; they have no interest in them, and seem to take every opportunity to vent their rage and hatred upon the blacks. They are frequently beaten unmercifully, and shot down like wild beasts, without any provocation, followed with hounds, and maltreated in every possible way. It is the same old story of cruelty, only there is more of it in Texas than any southern State that I have visited. I could cite many cases of cruelty that came under my own observation if it were necessary to do so. The planters generally seemed discouraged, and insisted that the system of free labor would never answer; that the negroes were idle and worthless, and showed no disposition to work, and were wandering about the country utterly demoralized, and were plundering and stealing indiscriminately from the citizens.
"It was also generally reported by the white people that the freedmen failed wholly to fulfill their contracts, and that when they were needed most to save the cotton crop, they would stop their work and leave them without any cause whatever. After a careful investigation, I do not find these charges against the freedmen to be wholly true.
The entire crop raised in Texas-cotton,corn,sugar, and wheat-was gathered and saved by the 1st of December. Most assuredly no white man in Texas had anything to do with gathering the crops, except perhaps to look on and give orders. Who did the work? The freedmen, I am well convinced, had something to do with it; and yet there is a fierce murmur of complaint against them everywhere that they are lazy and insolent, and that there is no hope for a better condition of affairs unless they can be permitted to resort to the overseer, whip, and hounds.
"Two thirds of the freedmen in the section of country which I traveled over have never received one cent of wages since they were declared free. A few of them were promised something at the end of the year, but instances of prompt payment of wages are very rare. Not one in ten would have received any compensation for the labor performed during the year 1865 had it not been for the rigorous measures resorted to by Colonel De Grass, provost marshal general of the district of Houston, who sends into the interior frequently two hundred miles and arrests the parties who have been guilty of cruelty to the freed people, and where they have violated their contracts with them compels them to make fair and equitable settlements. Colonel De Grass has a small command of cavalry under his control, and he keeps it in motion constantly through the country, searching for parties who have murdered or maltreated the freedmen. I cannot speak too highly of the course pursued by the colonel. He displays the same earnestness of purpose and fearlessness in the discharge of his duty that he did in the old army of the Tennessee, and although his life has been threatened by the chivalric citizens of the country, yet he is not deterred by their threats from discharging his duty as he understands it. He is a true friend of the black people, and will not see them ill-used. I know that some of the lessons which he has taught the citizens in the vicinity of Houston will not soon be forgotten.
"I saw freedmen cast of the Trinity river who did not know that they were free until I told them. There had been vague rumors circulated among them that they were to be free on Christmas day, and that on New Year's there was to be a grand division of all the property, and that one half was to be given to the black people."
In closing his report, General Strong says: "In order to correct abuses and regulate the labor system thoroughly throughout the country General Gregory should have fifty good officers to assist; and if these could be placed on duty at the principal villages in the interior, for three hundred and fifty miles north of the coast, and a small force of troops sent with each assistant to enforce law and order, it would be but a short time before a decided improvement would be observed.
"It is the opinion of every staunch Union man with whom I conversed, and with nearly every officer on duty in the State, that if the United States troops were removed from Texas no northern man, nor any person who had ever expressed any love for northern institutions or for the Government of the United States, could remain with safety, and the condition of the freed people would be worse beyond comparison than it was before the war and when they were held in bondage."
Brigadier General Tillson, acting assistant
commissioner for Georgia, writes from Angusta under date January 15, 1866, as follows:
"In almost every case, as heretofore reported, the withdrawal of troops has been followed by outrages on the freed people; their school-houses have been burned, their teachers driven off or threatened with death, and the freed people by fraud, and even by violence, made to enter into unjust and fraudulent contracts. The responsible and educated classes are ashamed of these outrages, and loudly and justly claim that they should not all be judged by the people who are mean and cruel enough to practice these wrongs; but the convictions of the former never take form in action-seldom in a manly, open protest. It requires the most careful nursing and culture to keep alive even a show of justice toward the freed people. Nearly all the females and young men, and all the blacklegs and rowdies, are open and defiant in their expression of hate for Yankees and negroes. The simple truth is, that the only public opinion which makes itself felt is as bitter and malignant as
These are the facts, and any theory or policy which disregards or ignores them is of little account, no matter by whom advocated or sustained. Unless wo keep a firm, just, kind hand upon these peeple, all our past labor will be thrown away.
"A large number of troops is not required; but the State is one of the largest, and unless small garrisons are kept at many points, most unfortunate results will certainly follow; labor will be insecure and untrustworthy, and industrial operations will be sadly interfered with. Some of the unpleasant consequences to be anticipated are already exhibiting themselves: as, for instance, the recent attack on the garrison at Brunswick.
"The people who have something to lose begin to appreciate the insecurity which follows the withdrawal of garrisons, and are asking to have them sent back.
"The highest and best interests of the State, as well as of the freed people, require an addition to the force now in the department."
"2. Public sentiment is such that even should the laws be made impartial the negro could not obtain redress for wrongs done him in person or property. 3. There seems to be a moral incapability with the white residents to treat him fairly in the ordinary transactions of business, as, exempli gratiâ, in making contracts. His own inexperience in such things, therefore, renders necessary some agency to guard his interests.
4. Existing theories concerning the education of laborers and the prejudice against the blacks are such as absolutely to prevent the establishment of schools for the freedmen, even though the expenses be paid by the benevolent associations of the North; and the many successful schools now in operation would be broken up in most places on the withdrawal of the Government agencies. The same general observations will apply to all missionary work by northern agents; and from special inquiry and investigation of this subject I am convinced that very little in the way of moral and religious instruction for the freed people is to be expected at present from the members and ministers of the southern churches. On the other hand, it is for the interest of the whites for the agencies to remain, and the better class of thinking men expressed themselves unhestatingly in favor of it.
(1.) The prevailing want of confidence on the part of the freedmen in those who have been slaveholders makes it necessary to have a third party (and a United States official is better than any other) to induce the freedmen to enter into contracts. Many of the white residents told me that no contracts would have been effected but for the bureau officers.
(2.) Such agents are needed often to secure the fulfillment of contracts on the part of the freedmen, both in explaining the exact meaning and force of the contract and enforcing it by different motives and means.
(3.) For the protection of the whites against any hostile combinations of the blacks. This will be needed as long as the present publie sentiment of the whites continues, insuring a corresponding distrust and hostility on the part of the blacks. Our agents have done much to allay such ill-feeling; and however unreasoning and ignorant the freedmen may be in any community, and however much their number may predominate over the resident whites, they will generally heed and be governed by the advice of United States officials.
II. In order adequately to protect the persons and property of the freedmen, and promote their education, as well as for the proper regulation of labor for the benefit of all concerned, the present number of agents should be increased.
"III. United States troops are at present absolutely necessary as auxiliary to the agents.
"1. There is no other means of executing orders and insuring justice to the freedmen.
"2. In many sections United States agents would not be tolerated unless backed by military force. I was assured by respectable and influential residents of the country in some sections that no northern man could reside there were it not for the presence of the bayonet, and that, in their opinion, such would be the case for ten years to come. I am not convinced of the truth of this statement, yet, with my own observation, I am led to conclude,
3. That the troops should remain for protection of northern residents and to encourage emigration. "4. As desired by the better part of the whites, to maintain good order and peace.
matter before the department commander, and am
I am satisfied that the negro has very little chance
5. Wherever United States troops are withdrawn a militia organization at once springs into life, which invariably tends to disturbances between whites and blacks, and to the latter is, I am convinced, an unmixed evil."
General Gregory, in writing from Galveston, Texas, December 9, 1865, says:
In some portions of the State, and especially is it the case where our troops have not been quartered, freedmen are restrained from their liberty, and slavery virtually exists the same as though the old system of oppression was still in force. The freedmen do not understand their true status, and their former masters, although acknowledging them to be free, practically deny the truth by their acts. With this class of men (and a few of the editors who still continue to misrepresent the object for which this bureau was instituted) we have more difficulty than any other as they refuse to pay the laborer his hire, and it seems almost impossible for them to deal justly and honestly with him. This is owing, perhaps, to the fact that heretofore they have had his labor without compensating him therefor. In this respect, however, there are evidences of improvement, and I trust that in the future there will be less cause for complaint on this account. They must pay them, if they expect to employ laborers worthy of their hire.'
"Owing to the vast extent of territory embraced in my district, I find great difficulty in procuring a sufficient number of officers who can render me that assistance, as sub-assistant commissioners, which is necessary to a proper discharge of my official duties. But few, comparatively, feel and manifest that interest in the advancement of the freedmen that they should."
And Mr. Speaker, I present some more recent proof, drawn from the official records of the bureau.
Extracts from a report of Brevet Major G. B. Carse, dated Lexington, Virginia, March 18, 1866:
An official letter of Colonel E. Whittlesey, of date March 23, 1866, speaking of North Carolina, says:
Extract from report of J. W. Alvord, inspector of
"On my route from Richmond to Washington I
The whole story of this honest, simple-hearted people was very touching, enlisting deeply the sympathy of their fellow-travelers. Their means were evidently very scanty and their hearts were sorrowful. Aged women, unaccustomed to hardship, spent the night, from Acquia creek, on the deck floor of the crowded steamer, while little babes wailed themselves to slumber in the arms of mothers without their accustomed nourishment.
"In this connection I may add that under my Circular No. 1, several cases of petty larceny have been tried by civil courts, and the old barbarous punishment of whipping been inflicted. I have brought the
"There can be no mistake in such a case. These staid, excellent people have not left their chosen and long-cherished homes without sufficient reason.'
"I have the honor to report that during the month of February I investigated upward of fifty cases, of which many were of considerable importance. Some of assaults made upon the freedmen, others in regard to non-payment of wages for services rendered, &c. "The great difficulty seems to be caused by the whites not being willing to pay for the labor after they have agreed to do so..
"I find some cases in which the former owners of these people have taken the whole amount of last year's hire from the parties to whom they hired their slaves during the hiring season of 1864 and 1865. In all cases where I have found this to be the case I have ordered that payment be made to the freedmen from the 10th day of April, 1865, at the same rates for which they were hired previous to the surrender. Many of the contracts at that time, i. e., previous to the surrender, were made payable in grain, and I have invariably caused grain to be paid or its equivalent.
An ex-member of the Virginia State Legislature drew half of last year's hire for one of his slaves from a man named Teaford, to whom he had hired his slave previous to the surrender, and he has tried to get the balance, but the case was brought to my notice, and I have ordered Mr. Frazier (ex-member of the Virginia Legislature)
In a report made on the 28th of February, 1866, by Lieutenant Colonel John Deveraux,
fim as hire from the 10th of April until the 1st of acting sub-assistant commissioner for Edgefield
July, and also ordered Mr. Teaford to pay the freed-
district, to Brevet Major General R. K. Scott,
"I have had a case reported to me in which a colored man was struck thirty-nine lashes by his former owner because he got an order or statement from General Darall last June and took it to his master to prove that he was a free man. I will report the facts in the case as soon as I have heard them from both partics.
'I am more inclined to think the people of the surrounding country are less inclined to do justice to the freedmen than I was when I arrived here."
"Unless there is a better disposition on the part of the citizens and their sons, and the cadets and students, I will have to send for troops. It seems impossible for these people to understand that the laws of the United States are supreme here. They seem to think nothing should occur or be said that does not accord with their ideas of right and wrong, and that an officer of the Government is a thing only to be tolerated." "There does not seem to be any disposition on the part of the whites to help the aged and infirm freedmen."
From the general report for the month of February, 1866, of Colonel E. Whittlesey, assistant commissioner, the following paragraphs are extracted:
The instances of petty annoyance and interference
"The freedmen are not yet free from apprehension that their liberty will prove but a dream. They see so much ill-feeling exhibited toward them and hear so often that they are an inferior race and must always expect to be, that they are afraid to trust the whites. Could they be sure of full protection everywhere they would exert themselves more earnestly to acquire property and to improve their condition. Even now, with all the discouragements under which they labor, there are many cheering signs of progress."
"1. The total military force in Edgefield district is nineteen enlisted men of the twenty-fifth Ohio Vetcran volunteers, commanded by a lieutenant, seven men of which force are stationed at Edgefield CourtHouse and twelve at Hamburg. Edgefield being one of the largest and most unruly districts in the State, this small force is entirely inadequate to exact the proper respect for the United States authorities.
2. There are two organized bands of outlaws, one consisting of eight men and the other of thirteen men, led by an ex-confederate major named Coleman, at present raiding this district and committing with impunity the most fiendish outrages on Union men and negroes. They have murdered a number of negroes and one white man without provocation, and robbed and driven from their homes several northern men who have property here. Coleman, the leader, is a desperate character; he has exhibited to several persons whom I saw, eight ears cut from colored persons: he carries them in an envelope and shows them as trophies."
"It is my decided opinion that nothing will restore the supremacy of the laws and render the lives of Union men or freedmen safe in this part of the country but the hunting down and extermination of these desperadoes by a respectable force of cavalry, as they are mounted in the best manner and belong to the class miscalled (in the South) gentlemen, and no doubt are harbored and kept well posted by many of the inhabitants."
From an official brief (made up from reports received from the acting sub-assistant commis
sioners and agents of the bureau in South Carolina) transmitted on the 16th instant by Brevet Major General R. K. Scott, to the Commissioner, the following extracts are taken:
"Here a planter had a man, his wife, and two boys under contract. They taking the small-pox through being placed in a house where the disease had prevailed, the planter sent them in a rain storm two miles into the woods, and then left them without food or clothing to die, although at the time he was in debt to them. They remained in the woods three weeks in great suffering until they were accidentally discovered by a colored man, who took them home and provided for them."
"The freedmen are subjected to barbarous treatment by a band of outlaws. In one instance two freedwomen were taken from their houses, ravished, and otherwise maltreated. It is believed that regularly organized bands of outlaws infest some portions of the country for the express purpose of persecuting the freedmen. Their operations being carried on at a distance from the garrisons, which are infantry, it is very difficult to detect and arrest them, and the freedmen seldom dare to complain for fear of greater cruelties." * "A letter just received from the post commander at Greenville Court-House, shows a horrible state of affairs in that district." * With but few. exceptions, and those due to the presence of the United States troops, the freedmen were turned off the plantations without pay for last year's work. Tho contracts for this year show a disposition on the part of the planters to reduce wages to the lowest possible figure, and in very many cases to obtain, by deceit, the services of freedmen on terms far worse than nothing." *
"Cruelty and even death of freedmen at the hands of white civilians, are not uncommon occurrences. One party boasted to prominent men of the district that he had shot twenty-eight freedmen since the surrender' and offered his services to kill others if there were any particularly offensive to the community." "One boy coming back to the plantation after having been away with United States troops, was in the presence of the other freedmen of the place deliberately shot, but he being only wounded thereby, a rope was placed round his neck when he was choked until dead."
From a letter received February 7, 1866, by the Commissioner from General Tillson, assistant commissioner, the following paragraphs are extracted:
"The people of the State, who generally at first were strongly opposed to giving reasonable wages, influenced by the judicious course of the bureau, are exhibiting a readiness to pay the freed people fair wages. Very many say that their prospects were never so good before, and that the freed people were doing admirably." Whenever it could be brought to bear on such people (i. e., planters complained of in remote parts of the State) withqut an exception, the kind, conciliatory, but immovably firm course pursued by the bureau has induced them to change their intentions and act in a just and sensible manner,"
* * *
Accompanying Colonel Osborne's (assistant commissioner) report of the condition of freedmen's affairs in Florida, for the month of February, is a report from Lieutenant Quentin, sub-assistant commissioner in charge of bureau affairs for the counties of Madison, Taylor, and Quentin's report the following is extracted: La Layette. From the record of Lieutenant
"This officer makes a generally favorable report of the condition and disposition of the freed people, and states that the better class of whites seem to be very well disposed toward the freedmen, although the lower class of whites are found to be quarrelsome toward their laborers, as well as abusive and greedy. "There is so wide a difference between employer and employé in respect to their ability to transact ordinary business and to comprehend the force of a contract, and so great a desire rapidly to repair losses and regain fortunes, and withal so little désire on the part of employers to see the freedmen rise in any respect, that unless an enlarged benevolence is to govern in the settlements at the close of the year, little will have been accomplished for the colored man except to arouse him from a not too trusting confidence to an unpleasant and unconquerable suspicion."
From a report made March 9, 1866, to Brevet Major General Baird, assistant commissioner, by James Cromie, captain and brevet major twelfth Veteran Reserve corps:
"I would also respectfully report that the number of colored persons in this (Calcasieu) parish before the passage of the ordinance of secession in this State was sixteen hundred, and from the information which I have received I believe there are at the present time twelve hundred. There are some white inhabitants who still insist upon holding these freedmen in their former state of bondage. Those citizens remaining in Lake Charles and vicinity desire very much to have an agent of the bureau sent to them in
any sail or row boat without license from a justice of the peace.
8. In Kent and Queen Anne counties, "free negroes" that leave the counties and return shall be punished by fine and imprisonment.
9. In Prince George county, (fifth district,) negroes are not to assemble under pretense of public worship, except on certain days named in the statute, and generally it appears that the organic law of the State is not such as to prevent discrimination against the rights of the negro, by county or other local authorities. A State official writes from Annapolis, February 14, 1866, as follows: "The colored people have no protection; the white rowdies pick a chance when no white person is about to maltreat the freedmen, and because the colored people cannot testify against them, the rowdies go free. Where the negro is concerned it is very difficult to find a jury to convict the aggressor if he be a white person. I think the jurisdiction of the bureau should be extended to Maryland as soon as possible."
At the last sitting of the grand jury in Annapolis a magistrate was indicted for putting a white man who had assaulted and beaten a colored woman under bonds to keep the peace, on the complaint and aflidavit of the woman, who came with the scars of the beating upon her person. At the same place, in November, 1865, a colored woman was sentenced to be sold for two years for persuading her children to leave their former master, to whom they were apprenticed. The children had secured places to work, and their wages for the year would have amounted to $400.
In Prince George county a colored man named Jordon Diggs had four of his children taken from him and bound by his old master, against his consent and protest. The names of the children were included in a contract to labor for the present year, the wages amounting to $300,
January 17, 1866, Charlotte Turner, colored, makes affidavit that William Preston, of Howard county, holds her children, Frank and Charles, aged respectively ten and nine years, illegally and against her
The following are extracts from a report submitted January 12, 1866, to Colonel Samuel Thomas, assistant commissioner, by Captain J. H. Matthews, sub-assistant commissioner, stationed at Magnolia, Mississippi:
"On the 15th day of December, 1865, a negro reported at my office and informed me that his former master, Mr. Felix Allen, of Pike county, had sent him into Amite county, Mississippi, on business, and that he would call and see me on his return. On the ensuing day he returned to my office, most shamefully beaten, and stated that after he had performed his mission with Mr. Allen's son-in-law, he lodged for the night in the quarters on the place by direction of Mr. Allen's son-in-law; that while in bed about eleven o'clock p. m. some six or seven white men came and bursted into the house, and with pistols drawn asked him what he was doing there, when he informed them that he was sent there by Mr. Allen, his master, and that if they would go with him to the white folks' house he would prove his statement; but no,' they told him, we don't care a damn for that, we want you to go with us.' When they had taken this man about a mile they were met by about fifty armed mounted men (supposed to be militia, and commanded by a man they called 'lieutenant') who ordered them to take him (the negro) off from the road and give him a flogging; and when they had proceeded about fifty yards from the road they threw him down and six or seven of them jumped into his face and bosom with their heels, stamping and kicking him.
"When this old negro (he was apparently sixty or sixty-five years old) returned to my office, he presented a most frightful appearance, his breast bone broken, and he spitting blood." *
I respectfully invite your attention to a murder committed by one John H. McGee, some nine months since, which would challenge the world for an equal in studied brutality, which was reported to me some time since, but for want of facts I did not feel warranted in reporting before. The negro was murdered, beheaded, skinned, and his skin nailed to the barn. Should this affair be investigated, I would refer you to Mr. Bunkly, at Bunkly's Ferry, who can give the names of parties knowing to the facts."
"Should they (the freedmen) remain where they are, under existing circumstances, their condition will not only be rendered worse than slaves, but the safety for the lives and the hopes for the future of this unfortunate race will depart forever."
The following report is dated Washington, March 27, 1866, from the assistant commissioner, General C. H. Howard, to Major General O. O. Howard, concerning Maryland:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following partial report, in compliance with your circular dated March 2, 1866, concerning the status of the freedmen in Maryland:
Statute discriminations against the negroes on account of color.
1. No colored witness can testify in cases involving conflicting interests between white and black.
2. A negro convicted of an offense the punishment of which if committed by a white man would be confinement in the penitentiary, may be at the discretion of the court sentenced to receive not exceeding forty lashes.
3. A negro hiring to a white man for a term and refusing to enter his service, but hiring himself to another, unless it appear that his wages would be insecure, or that he received improper treatment from the first, two fifths of his wages in the hands of his second employer shall accrue as a lien to the first. 4. For a negro to belong to any secret society is a felony-the punishment a fine of fifty dollars.
5. No education of colored apprentices is required. (Practically, too, the provision of the law requiring that the parents of children shall be summoned, and their consent to the indenture obtained, or that their inability to provide for their children is shown, is in a majority of cases ignored.)
6. In Anne Arundel and Somerset counties, license to deal in merchandise cannot be obtained by a negro, unless recommended by a certain number of respectable freeholders. No white person, the partner of a negro, shall be granted a license; and if a white man employ a colored clerk, the penalty is fifty dollars.
7. In Charles county, no negro shall have or use
February 5, 1866, Amos Hunt, a white resident of Washington, testifies that on the 3d of the same month he accompanied Sandy Henson, colored, to Surratt's, in Prince George county, to visit his (Henson's) daughter; that on his arrival at the place Henson was met by threats of violence and death by the man with whom his daughter is living, and was compelled to return without seeing her.
Richard Butler, colored, of St. Mary's county, testifies that he was assaulted and beaten without cause by one John A. Lloyd. Robert Avery, a constable, was present, and did not interfere to protect him or preserve the peace.
February 7, 1866, Essex Barbour, colored, late a soldier in the thirtieth regiment United States colored troops, makes affidavit that on the 3d of the same month he was assaulted and beaten at Chaptico, St. Mary's county, by four white men, one of whom is a returned rebel soldier, and makes it his business to injure colored people, more especially colored soldiers, at all times and places. "I have defended the country in the field, and most respectfully request that I may be protected at home."
February 17, 1866, Richard Speake, colored, of St. Mary's county, complainsof his employer, who, on the 16th of that month, assaulted and beat him seriously. March 19, 1866, Maria Hutchinson, colored, complains and testifies that at Nottingham, Prince George county, on the 9th instant, her husband, Henry Hutchinson, late a colored soldier, was assaulted and seriously beaten by several white men; that her husband gave no cause of offense except asking one of the men if he had accused him of stealing; and that her husband is now confined in jail at Marlborough to answer a charge of having threatened the life of one of his assailants.
Philip Brown, colored, complains under oath that he was assaulted by a white man, in Montgomery county, on the 22d instant, while crossing the farm of the latter, and that he was shot at and wounded in the head by the same white man while riding quietly along the public highway on the evening of the same day. He has been a soldier; and when shot he heard a companion of the man who shot him say, "Shoot the d-n son of a b-h; he is nothing but a Union soldier."
The above are specimens of many similar affidavits regarding outrages in Maryland received at this office. The present civil law and its administration are found to be practically, and it may be said totally, inadequate to protect the negro in his rights of person and property. For example, often in these assaults upon the negro by the white man colored witnesses only are present, and the testimony of colored men is not received when a white man is involved. Hence an indictment of the guilty party in the case is impossible.
The opposition to the efforts to educate the colored people in Maryland is bitter and wide-spread. Teachers have been stoned and blackened, and indignation meetings held and resolutions passed to drive them out. School-houses have been burned: colored churches, too, have been destroyed to prevent colored schools being opened in them. Respectfully submitted,
C. H. HOWARD, Brevet Brigadier General, Assistant Commissioner. And now, Mr. Speaker, I will show that the existing law is not sufficient for the protection of these men. I have already said that the law was passed before the great amendment of the Constitution was ratified and made effective. It applied to those who were then freedmen from rebel States or from districts embraced in the operations of the Army. There
were no freedmen excepting those made such by State action or by the proclamation of Mr. Lincoln. What control or supervision does that law in its terms authorize over men subsequently declared free but who were then in bondage? It is not a sufficient answer to say that from the necessity of the case it has been demanded of the Government that all freedmen should be deemed to be under the care of the bureau. So, indeed, in the absence of legislation it was demanded. No sane man can doubt that in Maryland and in Kentucky it was the duty of the Government to stand between the freedman and those who would oppress him.
Now, Mr. Speaker, upon examination of the existing law it will be found that in its terms it was designed to apply to those persons who were made free by military proclamation. "Freedmen from rebel States or from any district of country within the territory embraced in the operations of the Army." No persons were such freedmen who had not been held in bondage by traitor owners in arms against the Government, or who had not been declared free within the terms of Mr. Lincoln's procla mation. Freedmen of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and of such portions of Louisiana and Tennessee as were declared free by law, and not by military order, would not be embraced within the direct provisions of that law. The supervision and care of these men have been purely military and outside of the provisions of the law. But this should not be, now that Congress can act, clothed as they are with the power and loaded with the duty conferred and imposed by the second section of the amendment. It is a work which Congress ought to regulate and direct. How can we answer to constituent or to country if we willfully ignore our duty toward these men?
Mr. Speaker, I conjure the members of this House to examine the law and to consider this årgument I present to prove the necessity of further legislation.
But this argument does not stand alone. The existing law gives to the bureau the management of "all abandoned lands;" and the fourth sec tion is as follows:
"SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Commissioner, under the direction of the President, shall have authority to set apart, for the use of loyal refugees and freedmen, such tracts of land within the insurrectionary States as shall have been abandoned, or to which the United States shall have acquired title by confiscation or sale, or otherwise; and to every male citizen, whether refugee or freedman as aforesaid, there shall be assigned not more than forty acres of such land, and the person to whom it was so assigned shall be protected in the use and enjoyment of the land for the term of three years at an annual rent not exceeding six per cent. upon the value of such land as it was appraised by the State authorities in the year 1860 for the purpose of taxation: and in case no such appraisal can be found, then the rental shall be based upon the estimated value of the land in said year, to be ascertained in such manner as the Commissioner may by regulation prescribe. At the end of said term, or at any time during said term, the occupants of any parcels so assigned may purchase the land and receive such title thereto as the United States can convey, upon paying therefor the value of the land as ascertained and fixed for the purpose of determining the annual rent aforesaid."
Under this section, most of the abandoned property which had been held by Treasury agents, and the confiscable lands and aban doned plantations, were placed, by order of the President, under the care of the bureau. The law intended that lands should be leased or sold to refugees and freedmen. The property was to be controlled by the bureau, and held not only as a means of support to freedmen but of revenue to the Government. It was intended that this bureau should sustain itself; and those men who knew most about the willingness of freedmen to work and the productiveness of lands abandoned, felt assured that not one dollar of money would be lost to the Government by the operation of the bureau. The Commissioner, in his report at the beginning of the session, says:
"From one to ten thousand acres in each of the several States have been used as colonies for vagrant and destitute freedmen. In South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida some land, the exact amount of which has been reported, has been actually divided and assigned to freedmen as contemplated in the act es